I was reading an article about two teenage girls from Northern California. They are Emily and Sarah Buder and they wrote a book entitled Letters to a Bullied Girl. The inspiration for this book was a girl in Northern California named Olivia Gardner. Olivia was experiencing severe bullying and peer abuse at the hands of her peers. She suffered indignities such as having her book bag dragged through mud, peers creating an “Olivia Haters” page on the internet and tormenters would always tell her to die. Needless to say, Olivia was suicidal which comes of no surprise to me. When the Buder sisters found out about Olivia and what she was dealing with, they decided to write this book. The project grew as they started to hear from other bullied kids, kids who did bully and felt bad about it, adults who bullied growing up and felt bad and adult survivors who still struggle with the affects of being bullied and abused by their peers.
I commend these two young ladies for reaching out to Olivia who was a complete stranger. Today, it is so rare to see teens have empathy and reach out to others in a compassionate manner. I have the up most respect for these sisters. They probably do not realize how many other kids and teens they helped in their project. Sometimes, hearing these things from a peer rather than an adult or someone in authority can make a greater difference. I hope this book creates a wave with other kids out there and they learn something from it. Kindness can go a long way.
Olivia being suicidal is not uncommon. Many who are bullied and abused by their peers develop depression which leads to suicide eventually. We refer to it as bullycide as this is suicide as a result of peer abuse and bullying. How can we expect someone to grow into a well adjusted and balanced adult when as children, they suffer these indignities and have nobody there to help them? Or, the kids are told to just ignore it and stop taking it personally as it is a fact of life. Schools put so much emphasis on test scores and grades. How can someone excel when they are constantly told they are scum and need to die?
School is starting back in many places. We need to enforce these programs and laws so our children are safe and safe from each other. So they can score high in grades and become productive citizens some day. Emily and Sarah already know kindness and they exercise it. I hope others use these ladies as an example and not think of them as a joke. They both have hearts of gold and a powerful message to share.
Most importantly, I was glad to see the book was dedicated to Corrine Sides. Corrine was an exceptional young lady who did die of bullycide. May her spirit live on through this book. Angels do exist after all.
Resource Cited: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/emily-and-sarah-buder/letters-to-a-bullied-girl_b_116970.html
Elizabeth Bennett is the author of Peer Abuse Know More! Bullying From A Psychological Perspective and resides in Los Angeles, California. To learn more, visit http://www.peerabuse.info .